Thursday, May 04, 2006

The Bin Laden Trial: Penalty Phase

Following his capture in the Sudan in August, 2006, Osama bin Laden is convicted for his part in masterminding the attacks of September 11, 2001. Lead Defense Attorney Ramsey Clark presents mitigating factors in arguing against the death penalty for the al Qaeda leader.

Day One: Clark describes bin Laden's strict Sunni upbringing and notes many instances of corporal punishment for Osama's childish transgressions against shari'a. The cruel spankings have left his client unable to distinguish appropriate levels of response to provocation, he argues, and the spectacle of Saudi royals being forced to submit to the will of Western powers damages the child Osama's psyche and self esteem. Clark suggests that the partnership worked out with the Sauds following World War II was based on racist ideas held by President Harry S. Truman, ideas that led to the immolation of thousands of innocent Japanese civilians at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. One juror is observed openly weeping when Clark describes how Osama's father was called a "sand nigger" by an oil company roustabout. The beheading of the roustabout was little solace to young Osama.

Day Two: Clark calls University of Colorado professor Ward Churchill as an expert witness to explain the racist socio-political-economic tactics used by Western states to keep Arab peoples "down on the oil plantation". Churchill notes that the "little Eichmanns" in the Twin Towers on 9/11 were no different from Nazi bureaucrats consigning Jews to death during the Second World War, though he feels that the Jews may have brought their fate upon themselves. Another juror begins to weep as Churchill explains how unfair and sharp business practices by American oilmen resulted in bin Laden being forced to accept a Jaguar rather than a Ferrari for his twenty-first birthday.

Day Three: Clark describes the shame and horror of Osama's existence following his indictment in 1998 by a Federal court in absentia for his part in terrorist acts against American interests. Jurors are asked how they would feel at being persecuted for their own religious beliefs. Clark closes with the undeniable statement that Osama bin Laden "did not personally harm the hair on a single head of any person during the 9/11 military operation against American hegemony and imperialism."

Day Ten: The jury returns with a verdict of life in prison for Osama. At the conclusion of reading the verdict, the jury foreman states that, if it were within their power, they would "free the persecuted freedom fighter Osama bin Laden and convict the American people for their greed and arrogance."